Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the 2021/22 Comeback Season 

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As a bridge to live performances, Steppenwolf is producing three new virtual works by Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Tracy LettsStreaming September 29 – October 24, 2021

In the lead-up to ensemble member Tracy Letts’s extraordinary BUG returning this November to the Downstairs TheaterSteppenwolf Theatre Company is proud to bring audiences a sampler of the playwright’s singular voice in their homes with a trio of new virtual plays by Letts. From on-location filming with Rainn Wilson to handmade 3D puppets brought to life and Letts himself performing, each work is produced for the first-time in a digital format. These threegripping pieces, streaming September 29 – October 24, create the opening landscape of the 2021/22 Comeback Season and mark a bridge to the return of live performances and the opening of Steppenwolf’s new Arts and Education Center this fall. 

Ensemble member Tracy Letts shares, “These plays share at least one thread: a world off-kilter. But since I wrote these pieces, the actual world has undergone some hair-raising transformations, which have cast mysterious new light on these plays. They feel very much like stories for 2021.”

Steppenwolf’s virtual stage—which has streamed in all 50 states and over 20 countries since its inception last fall—is a celebration of the profound connection that theatre, in whatever form it finds itself, offers us all.

Ticket & Streaming Info

Single tickets are available and grant access to all three virtual plays for $20Students, teachers, artists and essential workers get access for $10. To purchase tickets or call Audience Services at 312-335-1650.

Access to the virtual trio is FREE with a Steppenwolf 2021/22 Classic Membership. For more information about the on-stage lineup and memberships or call 312-335-1650.

About the Plays 

Night Safari
A monologue filmed in a studio location
Written by ensemble member Tracy Letts
Directed by Patrick Zakem
Featuring Rainn Wilson
Run time: 14 minutes

The nocturnal habits of the Panamanian Night Monkey, the life cycle of the Paradoxical Frog, and the mating rituals of middle-aged male homo sapiens. This wry monologue poses the question: are we so distant from the whims of our biology? Enjoy your tour, and please remember—do not feed the animals.

The Old Country 
A filmed vignette, inhabited by puppets
Written by ensemble member Tracy Letts
Directed by Patrick Zakem

Puppet and production design by Grace Needlman
Featuring ensemble members William Petersen and Karen Rodriguez with Mike Nussbaum
Run time: 10 minutes

Two men in a diner drain the last drops of their coffees and think about ordering dessert. In the denouement of their (physical, intellectual, and sexual) lives, they wax nostalgic and try to communicate across a wide divide.

The Stretch 
A monologue filmed in a studio location
Written by ensemble member Tracy Letts
Directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro
Featuring ensemble member Tracy Letts
Run time: 8 minutes

And they’re off, for the 108th running of the El Dorado Stakes! But this race is long-distance… and maybe not what it first seems…

BUG is Back! 

Live Performances begin November 11 

Tracy Letts’s mind-bending cult classic roars back to the stage welcoming back audiences to the Steppenwolf they know and love: brave, brazen and defiant. The previously sold-out, award-winning production returns with the original cast starring ensemble members Carrie Coon (The Leftovers, Fargo) and Namir Smallwood (Pass Over on Broadway). Previews begin November 11, 2021 (opening November 14) and the production runs through December 12, 2021 in the Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St. Single tickets go on sale September 24, 2021 at To secure the best seats now, 2021/22 Memberships are available by or calling Audience Services at 312-335-1650.


Audiences seeing BUG this November will experience a transformed Downstairs lobby with a new wine bar located on the second floor. These renovations are part of Steppenwolf’s multi-year campus expansion, seamlessly connecting the existing building to Steppenwolf’s stunning new 50,000 sq. ft. Arts and Education Center opening this fall. View renderings here. Learn more about the campus expansion and 2021/22 Comeback Season at

About Tracy Letts 

Tracy Letts is a multifaceted award-winning actor and playwright. Letts received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play August: Osage County and a Tony Award for his portrayal of George in the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He has written the screenplays of three films adapted from his own plays: BUG and Killer Joe, both directed by William Friedkin, and August: Osage County directed by John Wells. In 2019, Letts was seen portraying Henry Ford II in James Mangold’s Academy Award-nominated racing drama “Ford v Ferrari,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also starred in the Academy nominated and critically-acclaimed adaption of Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.”  

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America’s ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church—today Steppenwolf is the nation’s premier ensemble theater with 49 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience

accessible to all. Productions that premiered at Steppenwolf including August: Osage County and Pass Over—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards—

have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; LookOut, a multi-genre performance series; and the

Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. 2021 marks the opening of the company 50,000 sq. ft. Arts and Education Center—featuring a 400-seat Round Theater, dedicated education floor and new spaces for engagement. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 30,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and E. Brooke Flanagan is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.


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